Clarke: USA favourites for Ryder Cup


The United States are favourites for the Ryder Cup despite Europe's success in the major championships this year, says Darren Clarke.

Based on the current points list, Clarke's European squad will include five players who have never featured in the Ryder Cup, although one of them is Masters champion Danny Willett.

Chris Wood, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan and Matt Fitzpatrick are the other rookies in line to be part of Clarke's team, with the likes of Lee Westwood and Victor Dubuisson outside the automatic places.

And Clarke - who appointed Sam Torrance as his fifth vice-captain on Wednesday - believes the lack of experience within Europe's team makes the US favourites for the event at Hazeltine.

"You guys [the Americans] are the favourite, you have to be the favourite," Clarke told a media conference ahead of the US PGA Championship.

"You've had a task force. You've done everything that you've done, and rightly so. [US captain] Davis [Love III] has gone to great lengths to try and find a winning formula.

"I wouldn't expect anything less from Davis. He's obviously doing a wonderful job, and you know, your guys are all playing very, very well. I'm obviously looking at mine, but I'm keeping an eye on yours, as well, as I'm sure Davis is doing to ours.

"At the moment, with the teams as we stand right now ... you'd have to say America would be favourites. 

"But that's always if you're going to look off World Rankings, etc., invariably, that's the case. But when you get there, it's 12 guys against 12 guys in match play, and anything can happen."

Clarke's predicted squad may have an inexperienced look to it, but the 2011 Open champion is pleased to see his players in form.

He added: "I'm very happy with the way it's looking. 

"Obviously we have, in our automatic qualifying positions right now, at the moment we have five rookies in there, with one of them being the Masters champion.

"But those guys are there for a reason. They are playing consistently well. They are keen, young players, and every now and again, there's a turnaround in the old guard somewhat [at] The Ryder Cup. 

"This is a big week, obviously, with everything that can change this week. But we've got a few more tournaments back in Europe, as well, before the top nine are automatically qualified, so there's still quite a bit of time for some of those guys that are just outside the qualification, the automatic qualification, to push their way in there."